By DOTTY NIST
The Walton County Technical Review Committee (TRC) has approved a four-lot short-term rental subdivision and a dental office. The board members also advanced a plat request, along with a large-scale amendment involving 1,340 north Walton County acres, in the county review process.
The decisions took place at the TRC’s Nov. 16 regular meeting at Freeport Commons.
Battle Creek LSA
The Battle Creek Large Scale Amendment was the most-discussed agenda item. This is a request on behalf of Rupert Phillips and Battle Creek RV and Recreational Park, L.L.C., to change the future land use from Public Facilities and Institutional to General Agriculture and the zoning district from Institutional to General Agriculture on 1,340 acres at 2546 Girl Scout Road, two miles north of U.S. 90 and south of Williams Road, west of DeFuniak Springs.
The General Agricultural zoning district provides for small-scale agricultural activities and limited supporting commercial activities, including active recreational uses, according to the Walton County Land Development Code (LDC), and a. density of one dwelling unit per 10 acres is allowed in the requested zoning district, with an intensity of 25 percent allowable.
Introducing the request, Walton County Planning Manager Kristen Shell noted that the property was previously a girl scout camp, this being the reason for the existing future land use classification and zoning district. She said the property is envisioned by the applicants as a “rather large RV park.”
Shell reported that a staff review had found the proposed amendment to be generally consistent with the Walton County Comprehensive Plan (CP). “The one item that is lacking is infrastructure,” she said, explaining that the property is not served by central water or sewer.
Shell said that a CP policy requires a development in this situation to put in a “plant or treatment facility that is of a higher standard than whatever existing state regulations are in place.” She recommended moving the request forward subject to those conditions and with the applicants being made aware of the latter requirements.
Representing the applicants was Ray Greer, a planner from Tallahassee. He noted that the girl scout camp property had been sold several years ago and that the applicants wanted to create something “more unique,” while using much of the existing camp infrastructure, in keeping with the original intent of the camp property.
Steve Hall, acting county land use attorney, spoke to the need for a developer agreement to be provided by the applicants setting forth a commitment to keep the intensity and density on the property out of the floodplains on the property.
Several residents in attendance addressed the committee members with technical concerns, including the plans for access to the property with the future development, along with potential impacts of a sewer package plant on the nearby Shoal River and possible negative impacts from four wheelers running on the property.
Mac Carpenter, TRC chairman and county planning and development service director, thanked the citizens but observed that most of the comments had been related to future development on the property, while the existing request before the committee was only for a land use and zoning change.
He emphasized that any development proposal would be required to go through a separate development review process, with a number of opportunities for input from the public.
The applicants had held a community meeting in July for information and public input on plans for the property.
The land use/zoning district change itself is also required to go through a review/approval process with hearings before the Walton County Planning Commission and the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC), plus state agency review.
The committee members voted to move the request forward to planning commission review, the next step, subject to the developer agreement being provided.
Coastal Subdivision was a request on behalf of Penny Lane Development, L.L.C., for approval of a subdivision consisting of four single-family homes and infrastructure on 0.92 acre on the eastern end and north side of Penny Lane, north of CR-30A and east of CR-393 in Dune Allen.
The homes are to be for short-term rentals, according to the project plan review, and five parking spaces per lot are to be provided. The project staff report notes that the applicants have opted to use the currently-proposed parking standards for short-term vacation rentals, one space per 900 square feet.
After a brief presentation by a representative of the applicants and public comments, the committee members voted to move this minor development project forward to development order issuance on the conditions of any outstanding reviewer comments being addressed and reviewer comments being provided by the Walton County School District.
Panhandle Dental Highway 98
Panhandle Dental was a request on behalf of Panhandle Dental Properties, L.L.C., for a 5,770-square-foot dental office and infrastructure on 1.04 acres at the northwest corner of South Church Street and U.S. 98 in Santa Rosa Beach.
The property is in a Mixed Use future land use area and a Village Mixed Use zoning district. The office is to have accesses off U.S. 98 and South Church Street, according to the project staff report, and 36 parking spaces are proposed, including two handicapped spaces. The proposed parking exceeds LDC requirements by two spaces.
As a non-residential development less than 20,000 square feet, the office proposal is considered a minor development. As such, only review by the TRC and the Walton County Design Review Board (DRB) are required before development order issuance. DRB review and that board’s approval of aesthetics-related elements are required due to the property location on the U.S. 98 Scenic Corridor.
The committee members voted to move the project forward to DRB on the condition of any outstanding reviewer comments being addressed.
Sea Croft Cottages Plat
The final agenda item taken up at the Nov. 16 TRC meeting was Sea Croft Cottages Plat, a request on behalf of BBH Development for the platting of 14 single-family residential lots on 2.51 acres on the south side of Seacroft Drive, east of Deno Drive and west of Satinwood Drive in Dune Allen.
The request was in line with a development order issued in December 2020, according to the staff report, and a proportionate fair share payment of $37,350 is a requirement to accompany recording of the plat.
A declaration for a homeowners’ association was among the documents submitted for the plat request, per requirements.
The committee members voted to move the plat request forward on the condition of any outstanding reviewer comments being met, the next and final step being consideration by the BCC.
Continued and tabled items
One agenda item, Tall Pines Preschool, was continued by advance request to the Dec. 21 TRC meeting. The CR-393 Municipal Parking Project was continued to the Dec. 7 TRC meeting after discussion.
Old Towne Bayou Lane was tabled by advance request.